More and more businesses are recognising the benefits of using conference call technology in place of face-to-face meetings, which can be much more costly and time consuming.
Teleconferencing can provide firms with a great way to communicate with colleagues and clients, without having to hire out meeting rooms or travelling to and from different locations around the UK – or indeed the world.
And while the software is incredibly straightforward to use, many businesses may be not know how to get the most out of conference calls – read on for tips on how to make sure they’re as successful as possible.
It’s all in the timing
Timing is one of the most most important considerations when planning a meeting. for example, if you have lots of things to discuss, holding your meeting just before lunch or the end of the working day may not allow you to cover all the necessary issues.
The problem of meetings overrunning is a common one. If time limits are set out on an agenda and discussions are kept to clearly defined topics, nobody will feel like their time is being wasted.
Once you’ve set a date and time for the conference call, make a note of them and remember to send out an email invite to all participants, along with the dial in number and PIN.
Add it to your online calendar and set a reminder on your phone too. On the day of the call, make sure you have everything organised – such as the agenda or any documents – in good time.
Know your phone controls
Before the call, take a look at the various controls on your phone to make sure you understand what they do and how they work. Locate the volume controls and see if there’s a mute button – this can come in handy if you need to cough or sneeze, or are unexpectedly interrupted.
Familiarise yourself with the extras
There are a number of useful features that can be employed during your conference call so you can get the most out of it and make sure it goes in the direction you want.
For example, many teleconference providers offer a recording service, which can come in handy if you want to transcribe the meeting or listen to it again. Familiarise yourself with the options and make sure you know how to use them.
Think about your surroundings
Background noise can be terribly disrupting during a conference call, so make sure you choose a quiet place to dial in from. A boardroom or meeting room are both good choices, while home workers should make sure they won’t be disturbed by noisy children or pets.
Avoid taking a conference call when you’re out and about, as you won’t be able to give the discussion your full attention and you can’t control the noise level around you.
Delegate a moderator
Choose yourself or someone from your team to be the person that leads the call so that everything runs as smoothly as possible.
The moderator should introduce everyone at the beginning of the conversation, also try to keep the discussion on topic and provide a short summary at the end. It’s also recommended that you initiate any necessary follow-ups – such as sending out minutes or a thank you email – after the call is over.